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Judge's Order Makes Murkowski Write-In Bid A Longer Shot

This ruling will really help Scott McAdams, the Democrat in the Alaska Senate race: ANCHORAGE — Calling it a "clear violation of Alaska administrative regulation," a judge on Wednesday ordered the state Division of Elections to remove a list of

This ruling will really help Scott McAdams, the Democrat in the Alaska Senate race:

ANCHORAGE — Calling it a "clear violation of Alaska administrative regulation," a judge on Wednesday ordered the state Division of Elections to remove a list of certified write-in candidates from polling places statewide.

State Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner's order not only keeps the state from not only providing the list, but forbids poll workers from providing to voters the names of any write-in candidates

The order is a blow for Sen. Lisa Murkowsi's write-in campaign, which had joined the state Division of Elections in fighting any efforts to do away with the list. Murkowski is taking on Republican Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams in Tuesday's election.

The state Division of Elections has been providing early voters who ask for assistance a list of all write-in candidates, and in one case, had actually posted the list at an early-voting location in Homer. The Division had argued that they drew up the list because they anticipated an unusual number of questions about Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in bid. The Alaska Democratic Party sued the state, asking for them to drop the list at polling places, and the Alaska Republican Party joined the suit.

Both political parties said the lists, which have been distributed to polling places statewide, are a considerable change in the state's previous write-in practices. It directly violated a state regulation that forbids allowing any information about write-in candidates at the polling place or within 200 feet of its entrance, the judge noted.

Pfiffner said that the Division's argument "rings hollow" in light of its past practices.

"If it were important 'assistance' for the Division to provide voters with lists of write-in candidates, then the Division has been asleep at the switch for the past 50 years. The Division first developed the need for a write-in candidate list 12 days ago."

It's "a victory for democracy," said Patti Higgins, chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party.

"To me, this is, you've got an election and everybody knows how it's supposed to work," Higgins said. "They could change the law – there's a process for emergency regulations – and they just unilaterally decide they were going to do this. That's wrong."

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